UN Convention Reaches Milestone in Signatures

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On 9 July, Qatar became the hundredth country to sign the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
, which
opened for signature on 30 March.

The landmark Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly
in December 2006 after three years of negotiations that included
members of the disability community, will take effect 30 days
after the deposit of the twentieth ratification with the
Secretary-General.

In addition, 55 countries have, as of today, signed the Optional
Protocol to the Convention, which allows individuals and groups to
petition the yet to be established Committee on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, once all national recourse procedures
have been exhausted.

"We are pleased by the commitment shown by so many Member States,"
said Thomas Schindlmayr of the United Nations Secretariat for the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The countries that have signed both the Convention and its
Optional Protocol are: Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda,
Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Central African Republic, Chile, Republic of the Congo,
Costa Rica, Ctte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Ghana,
Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon,
Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia,
Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of
Korea, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia,
South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda
and Yemen.

The signatories to only the Convention are: Australia, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark,
Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Greece, Guinea, Guyana,
Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Poland, Qatar,
Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, United
Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu and the European
Community.

Jamaica also ratified the Convention on 30 March. The Treaty needs
19 additional ratifications to come into force - a figure the
United Nations Secretariat of the Convention feels will be reached
by the end of the year.

When the Convention opened for signature at the United Nations on
30 March, 81 Member States and the European Community signed the
treaty and 44 signed the Optional Protocol. Together, this is a
record for the first day of signature for any Convention.

For information, please visit:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable or contact at the
Department of Public Information, Daniel Shepard,
tel.: 212.963.9495, e-mail: shepard@un.org, or Edoardo Bellando,
tel.: 212.963.8275, e-mail: bellando@un.org.

SOURCE: United Nations via AAPD

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